One evening last year, Jon was getting Ellie ready for bed and I was cleaning the kitchen. Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" came on and I couldn't resist. I stopped everything to dance all alone in our living room.
The "stuff" of the day began to drip off of me as I twirled, the room whirring by. I brought my arms up above my head as the beat and the words mingled around me. Singing at times and just letting myself move and be in the moment. Not worrying about all that awaits but just letting in space for joy and silliness and even sacredness.
Dancing it out is a practice I turn to often. When I'm in my studio alone, I turn up Dolly Parton or Mumford and Sons or Taylor Swift and just move. It grounds me in my body. It shakes out the cobwebs and the worries and the distractions. It creates space inside me. It brings me back to me.
I also use this practice when I'm frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do. The music and movement push me out of my whirling thoughts and give me a break to just be one with the spirit within and around me. I suppose it sometimes can even be a spiritual practice for me.
When it comes to this work of using self-care and creativity to help us build a bridge between daily life and where we want to go, we need practices that keep us connected to what matters to us, practices that bring us back to center and keep us moving forward.
And "dancing it out" really can be a beautiful daily self-care practice. Something you do to fill up the well inside you each day to help you continue to come home to yourself even as you experience all that a day can hold.
Using this practice
Today, I want you to just take a few moments to think about how you could bring music into your current self-care practice. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a "dance it out" playlist. These might be songs to dance it out to or songs that feel like an old friend.
- Try dancing it out (or singing it out) before you spend time journaling or creating or even before doing something that is going to be a challenge. If you don't usually write or create with music on, put some on and see how it affects the way you put your pen to the page.
- Start your day with music if you don't already. Notice how it shifts your mood.
- Just start moving your body. Close your eyes. Let yourself just feel the music (and it's okay if that music is in your head).
- Turn on music and dance as you clean your kitchen.
- Invite someone to join you and dance it out together. This is exactly what my daughter and I are doing in the photo at the top of this post. She was frustrated for a moment while playing at the beach so I came up with the idea of pretending we could hear music and we just started dancing.
- Put aside a specific time each day to dance, just like you might put aside time to read or go for a run. Set aside just a few minutes to dance to a couple of songs. Try this for two weeks, making note of how you feel before and after you dance each day.
What self-care are you using in your corner of the world? I'd love to know in the comments or use the hashtag #becausethisisselfcare on Instagram and I'll find you over there.